Of all the questions that cross parents’ minds when they hear about child abductions, the most common question may be, “how can I stop this from happening to my child?”
TIPS FOR PARENTS TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFER WHILE IN PUBLIC
- Keep children with you at all times while shopping
- Accompany and supervise children in public facilities, including restrooms
- Have a plan in case you become separated, including a pre-designated spot to meet
- Teach children to look for people who can help, such as a uniformed security officer
- Remind children to remain in the area where they become separated
- Never dress children in clothing that displays their first or last names
- Use the word ‘no’ as a safety term
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ATTEMPTED ABDUCTIONS
Parents should learn when and where kids are most vulnerable in order to better protect them. In an analysis of attempted abductions, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children found that many:
- Involved a suspect driving a vehicle
- Occurred between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Occurred when the child was traveling to or away from school
- Involved girls and children between the ages of 10 and 14
TEACH CHILDREN TO TAKE ACTION
NCMEC’s review revealed one extremely important fact: 83% of children who escaped their would-be abductors did something proactive. They walked/ran away, yelled, kicked, or pulled away.
This means the best thing a child can do if someone tries to abduct them is take action instead of being passive or polite.
Use this information to set up a safety plan for your kids – and don’t forget to include teens in these conversations! You can:
- Point out places they can go for help when walking to places like school and the park
- Remind them to travel and stay with a group
- Warn them about accepting rides or changing plans without your permission
- Teach them the tricks would-be abductors use, such as offering money or asking for help
- Encourage them to tell a trusted adult whenever anything or anyone makes them uncomfortable
When it comes to keeping your child safe, YOU are your child’s best resource! And as always, please contact the police if you experience or notice anything or anyone acting suspiciously around children.